Friday, April 25, 2014


Today's FIND is an oldie but goodie. Query Tracker has been around for as long as I can remember. It's an online database of nearly 1300 agents, but it's also so much more.

In the past I've used an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of my submissions, and it has served me well, but that was before I got serious about finding an agent. I mainly submitted my first manuscript to editors I met at conferences and retreats, so very little research was necessary. With my current YA, though, I'm already through a couple of rounds of agent queries, and to be honest with myself, odds are I still have a long way to go. Querying is not a quick process.

Don't get me wrong. I won't ever give up my trusty spreadsheet completely. If anything ever happens to Query Tracker I don't want to lose my submission history. Believe it or not, as much as every rejection stings to the core like the biggest mother trucken bee you've ever seen, it is possible I might eventually lose track of who exactly has had the distinct honor of sending those rejections my way. But that doesn't mean I can't branch out. And now that I'm deep into this often overwhelming process, I can clearly see just how fabulous Query Tracker is. It's not JUST a database. Or a good tool for agent research. Or a wonderfully organized way to track your current and past submissions. It's all of those things PLUS a community.

Most of the writers who use Query Tracker use the comments section to make note of when and what type of manuscript they've queried and/or submitted. They also go the extra mile to cheer each other on, and to occasionally lend or borrow a virtual shoulder when things don't work out so well. But better than that, the comment section is an active, up-to-date frame of reference for where YOU stand in the pool of queriers. You can take a look at all the people who've queried before you, after you, at around the same time as you, and you can see what response (if any) they've received. It gives you an excellent feel for what to expect from each agent in regard to response time, because it really does vary tremendously from agent to agent. You can also see if an agent you've been expecting to hear back from is running a little slower than usual; you can even sometimes find out the reason for the delay (they've been traveling, they've been sick). You'd be surprised by how sanity-saving that little piece of information can be. Then again, if you're a writer you probably won't be surprised because you already know how maddening it is to simply NOT KNOW. And no matter how long I stare at my trusty spreadsheet, it is never going to give me a window into each agent's process the way Query Tracker can.

Paid memberships to Query Tracker are available for $25 a year (or $8 for three months), but so far I've made do with the free version. I haven't had much use for the metadata or reports available to paid members, though I suspect I will eventually upgrade in order to more easily track additional projects (one of the added benefits of a paid account).

If you're unfamiliar with Query Tracker, I highly recommend you check it out for yourself by going here, and be sure to let me know what you think.  If you're an experienced Query Tracker and have any great tips or tricks to making the most of the website, I'd love to hear all about it on Facebook or in the comments below.

Until next time, keep an eye out for new writing FINDS of your own, and share with me any great ones that come your way; I'm always in the market for more. In my experience, anything that might potentially make this journey even a little easier is worth looking into.

No comments:

Post a Comment